Birthday DIY At-Home Birthday Party Themes - Practical Mom Solutions


Birthday DIY

At-Home Birthday Party Themes

Birthday Fun with Balloons

Our trendspotting team of moms has noticed that the once common-place at-home birthday party has gone the way of the dodo bird and we’re hearing kids clamouring to bring it back. Don’t fret. Thanks to submissions from our very savvy readers, we have some great ideas. They’re sure to keep the troops happy and smiling so you can relax and look like the savvy mom that you are.

From Carol McNutt, Owen Sound – Walk Like an Egyptian Party
Do up the invitations on parchment paper, inviting the kids to Pharoah [insert your child’s name]’s Pyramid. Play themed games (for fun ideas, click here) and wrap the children up in white toilet paper or crepe paper to make them into mummies. For the loot bag, a copy of ‘Mummies in the Morning’ Magic Treehouse book, some gold-wrapped chocolate coins and a bookmark with their name written in hieroglyphics (with some help from websites like this one).

From Jordie Barker, Toronto – Celebrate Spring Party
For springtime birthday parties, tell the guests to come ready for planting. Gather all the children outside or in the garage to paint flowerpots before playing some outdoor games. Afterwards (when the paint has had time to dry), plant some seeds or a small plant in the pots for each child to take home and grow. Flower-decorated cupcakes or digging through vanilla ice cream covered with mud (aka Oreo cookie crumbs) for gummy worms make a great dessert.

From Becky Whitten, Orangeville – A Tinkerbell and Peter Pan Story
Take the plastic swimming pool from the garage, put a board over it and bingo, walk the plank. Make a treasure map and send the children on their way—indoor or outdoor—to find the treasure (aka the loot bags, golden coins work well here too). Invite the boys to dress as pirates and the girls as pretty damsels, and the birthday child as Peter Pan, Captain Hook or Tinkerbell. The cake? Make it the clock the alligator ate.

From Jolie Armstrong, Toronto – A Miniature Party
Small on décor but large on fun, have a mini party where everything is small. Serve drinks in 1 ounce shot glasses, mini cupcakes and mini sandwiches complete the feast. Make party hats from coned cups (the water cooler kind) and streamers from string and paper punched circles.

From Kathleen Chin, Etobicoke – A Super Superhero Party
Invite your guests to come as their favourite superhero—everyone loves to dress up. Set up a series of games such as egg toss, water balloon toss, pin the tail on the donkey and statue, telling the kids they are games to demonstrate their superhero powers. Give prizes from the dollar store so everyone wins. Add in a themed cake with the birthday child’s favourite superhero. Make sure you have help—ask other moms or local babysitters in your neighbourhood to help with each super-station.

From Karen Vermeeren, Calgary – Almost a Sleepover Party
For the ‘too young for a sleepover’ set, invite the children to come over (in their pyjamas) from 5 – 8 pm with their pillows, sleeping bags, and stuffed animals. Have pizza, popcorn and watch a movie in the dark (give every kid a dollar-store flashlight). Play freeze dance with some fun pop music (I Like to Move It from Madagascar is a fave). Best part—you won’t be up all night!

So stay home and party. It might be a bit messier but there’s no better way to add character to your home than hosting a children’s birthday party.

Our parents did it all the time. Surely we can too.

The Unselfish Divorce: Separating But Living Together


Dr. Jane Greer

Dr. Jane Greer

Marriage and Family Therapist, Author, Radio Host

Posted: January 25, 2011 10:29 PM


Trying times call for trying new measures. Today’s economy has left many divorcing couples in a position of not being able to make a clean break and move out. Opera singer Cassandra Manning and her husband Jeremy are one of the couples who talked about the difficulty they’ve had with this reality. They are not alone. Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman, Stephanie Seymour and her husband Peter Brant, as well as many other separating couples continued to live together for a variety of reasons.

Years ago I worked with a couple, let’s call them Bonnie and Frank, who reached the end of their marital rope as partners, but not as parents. Given their financial constraints, they continued to live together. Despite their anger and resentment toward each other, they remained steadfast in their commitment to their children. While irresponsible in most aspects of the marriage, Frank always rallied around taking care of the children. I remember once Bonnie asked if I thought it would be strange if they vacationed together at Disney World with the kids while going through their divorce. Apart, neither could make the trip, for practical and financial reasons, but together they could; so I supported their cooperative spirit.
Divorce is a long process which takes time. Bonnie and Frank were at the beginning of their divorce, which is one of the most difficult phases, because it’s a gray zone, an uncharted territory with no clear rules. But their exerted effort actually added up to their getting along civilly with each other and helped dilute some of the bad blood between them. Their Disney World trip became a blueprint for behaving respectfully despite their mutual anger so that they could expedite their divorce and get on with their lives. It set the stage for remaining accessible and available to each other, despite their differences. Together they made sure that their children didn’t suffer and smoothly maintained the kids’ schedules with school, afterschool activities and friends.

Their experience got me thinking about the unselfish divorce. For some couples it can actually be a reality rather than a fantasy to work together as you proceed through the divorce to achieve your goal of being separate. Whether you are motivated by your children, limited finances, or other practicalities, the unselfish divorce is something to aspire to. While "over and out" is always an option, the matters of money and children are making a huge difference in the freedom, or lack thereof, available to couples who no longer want to be married to each other. Some couples simply can’t afford to live in two separate households with all the accompanying expenses, especially if they are paying high rent or one or both are out of a job. Consequently, spouses may have to live together indefinitely on the road to divorce until they have enough money to move out.

My book What About Me?: Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship describes getting from a me to a we, learning to share while holding onto yourself. If you don’t do that, it can spell the demise of your marriage. In an ironic way, not being able to find the we while you are getting divorced can be equally damaging because it can keep you pitted against your spouse in ongoing battle. If you can put the measuring of who gives and gets more aside, and help each other through the hard time, you will get there faster. Be very clear about the expectations you have of each other with regard to joint responsibility, which will allow things to go as easily as possible. If you can reasonably divvy them up it will unite you in your common goal of separating. This creates a living environment that gives you the room to pursue an independent life from each other. Although you may still be together under one roof, by drawing clear lines in the sand you really can divide and conquer the realm of divorce. If you are willing to lay down weapons and let go of the blame and criticism, you can make an unworkable marriage a workable divorce.
This is easier said than done. It means focusing on what you both stand to gain rather than what each of you is going to lose in the process. This isn’t for everyone. If there has been infidelity and betrayal, or if one person wants out but the other doesn’t, the damage and pain is a huge force field to navigate.

As Bonnie was going through her divorce, at one point she told me she couldn’t believe that it had come to her fighting with Frank over who would get to keep the sugar bowl (a wedding gift). I replied while she couldn’t hold onto the sweetness lost between her and Frank, she could instead continue to make choices to behave in a way that didn’t turn things more sour than they already were. Deciding to manage their anger constructively made a huge difference in their getting through the divorce, and it is an option for couples to strive for.

Path Rejects Google’s $100 Million Offer


Living In Durham

The Huffington Post Amy Lee First Posted: 02/ 2/11 04:42 PM


Path Google


Tiny social networking startup Path just made $8.5 million in their latest funding round. But the bigger news is the money they didn’t take.

According to TechCrunch, Path turned down a $100 million offer from Google, with an earnout of another $25 million to be paid out over four years.

Path opted to go with a slower funding route, with their Kleiner Perkins led round. Path is a social photo sharing service, with networks limited to 50 people, to encourage a more personal networks. They have users in the hundreds of thousands. But as TechCrunch reports, 20 percent of users are on the site daily.

Google apparently had a special interest in Path head Dave Morin, a former Facebook exec, hoping that the acquisition might help them recruit more Facebook employees. But Morin, and Path, passed on the extra $91.5 million, and currently hold a valuation of $25 million.

"Every choice we’ve made has been intentional to build a 30-year brand," Morin told CBS News earlier this year.

Read Path co-founder Dave Morin’s blog for The Huffington Post.